Autumn Olive; An invasive species, a delicious berry producing food plant, or both?
September 22, 2014
I am a Permaculturist. This means I look for connections between myself and nature and design with that in mind. It also means that I look for ingenious methods to support the ecosystems I interact with and look for it support me, mutually, if not regeneratively.
Permaculture is defined as: a design system to meet human needs while improving ecosystem health
Invasive species is defined as: an organism (plant, animal, fungus, or bacterium) that is not native and has negative effects on our economy, our environment, or our health.
In permaculture there is a saying, "The problem is the solution." So, if Connecticut and other states have deemed Autumn Olive to be an invasive species, and the plant produces berries, and these berries have seeds eaten and distributed by animals, which then propagate into additional Autumn Olive bushes, which are invasive, then why don't we, as responsible citizens, eat the berries?
In the days after this pic was taken, a total of 18 Gallons of Autumn Olive berries were harvested.
Additionally, and it should be noted, Autumn Olive loves poor soils and is a Nitrogen fixer. So, when looking at this plant it can be looked at as a plant that builds soil via its natural functions including losing its leaves that decompose and like a Legume, adds needed Nitrogen to the soil.